Thanks to the power of the internet, the world today has managed to adopt the term ‘global village’. This term should in no sense be associated with a rural, traditional set up as in the definition of the word village but what it simply means is that the universe has been converted into a rather small, well connected entity despite the implications of distance, ethnicity, race or any other factors that create distinction among the various nations or continents at large.
The advantages of possessing an efficient network in terms of communication is self explanatory owing to the presence of social networks and emailing services. However, in accordance with the ancient Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yan referring to the complementary opposites of situation(s), the internet can also pose a great threat to individual(s)
Such threats may range from incitement through [racial, religious, ethnic, political] slurs, copyright infringement, destructive information [suicide procedures, bombs/gun assembling],morality degradators [pornography] and many others. Opinion-wise the greatest threat of all is the issue of identity theft which simply refers to the fraudulent acquisition and use of an individual’s private identifying information for personal financial gain.
While online, such fraudsters may adopt various skills and techniques to achieve their malicious goal of stealing your information so it is therefore up to you to frustrate their efforts by transforming into an online ninja. In this regard, here are a few teachings of my own to assist you in your quest.
1) Use an updated system :- this refers to the Operating System updates or softwares that relate to security, bugs or enhancements.
This ensures that you counter-measure any efforts made by the attacker in terms of installing malware or any other attempts in stealing your private information from your computer.
2) Email accounts:- Usedifferent email accounts for different purposes i.e Official emails, Social network emails, friends and family emails.
3) Pseudonyms:- These are fictitious/ made up names. They provide anonymity into one’s real identity and offer no relations to one’s real life.
4) Firewall:- This is a barrier that protects a network server or computer from unauthorized users from other networks.
5) Multiple passwords:- Use multiple passwords for various sites so as to make it harder for malicious attackers to access such sites on your behalf.
6) Sophisticated passwords:- Use complex passwords that are harder to guess. you can choose to insert a variety of numbers and letters in for good measure.
7) Create privacy restrictions wherever necessary i.e On Facebook you can choose to only allow friends to view your posts, pictures etc, and On twitter you can set your tweets to be visible ONLY to those you have allowed.
8) Use privacy browser add-ons eg Do Not Track Me (Albine)
9) Internet Security programmes:- These are offered by most antivirus programmes to ensure safety while browsing the web.
10) Log out/Sign out;- This is the most simple yet the most overlooked aspect of internet security. Make sure you log out after accessing password related sites. This is applicable even to personal devices like mobile phones or laptops. Unauthorized access of such devices may lead to identity theft.
11) Terms of Agreement:- Make sure you read the terms and services before using any service or product. Most services involve tracking personal information.
13) Proxy services:- These are services that offer anonymity by hiding one’s IP address. Although they are not 100% effective since personal information can easily be waylaid by attackers as they are being transferred from their servers.
14) Multiple identities:- This is useful in social networks as it provides no linkages between various characters used by an individual. This can be achieved by either using different email addresses, different birth dates, sex etc
15) Unsecure wifi:- Avoid unsecure wifi spots since this is an easy method for attackers to gain access to your computer and steal information.